Digital Innovations by Eco-Inclusive Enterprises: In the Agriculture Sector
Digital innovations can bring significant benefits to stakeholders in the agriculture sector. Take rural farmers who face challenges including a lack of access to information on markets, need advice on productivity gains, and struggle with obtaining credit and low levels of financial inclusion. Farmerline in Ghana is addressing these by providing information, resources and financial services to small-scale farmers through mobile technology. As mobile internet access in Ghana is very high; this presents an opportunity to transform their agricultural sector.
Farmerline’s software platform Mergdata reaches farmers via mobile technology that is adapted to the local context and shares best practices, weather forecasts, market prices to empower farmers with information in mass quantities via voice in local dialect or SMS format.
The platform also allows mapping of farmlands. This information is vital to assess the creditworthiness of farmers when they apply for loans. Another solution is the payment of loans and credits through mobile money. The data captured through the platform gives farmers a digital profile and an economic identity, which can be shared with formal institutions to bridge the information gap and allow farmers access to financial services more easily than before. To date, Farmerline’s software platform has over 1 million acres of land mapped across 160,000 farms, and farmers have spent over 803,163 minutes on the platform, learning best practices to improve their sustainability and productivity.
Another similar example of how digitalisation can enable financial inclusion is PAY2PAY, developed by MDF Training & Consultancy, through the SEED Practitioner Labs for Climate Finance. The solution offers a new way for smallholder farmers and small and growing agribusinesses to access finance and markets digitally. It is a platform-based payment system that acts as an intermediary and brings together financial institutions, smallholder farmers and business development services such as climate-technology service providers. The platform-based payment system uses a mobile phone application with a voice interface in local languages to make the solution accessible for farmers in remote areas.
Watch this space for digital innovations by our enterprises in other sectors.